UN envoy condemns plans to raze illegal Arab town

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov says planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar is contrary to international law.

Ben Ariel,

Nickolay Mladenov
Nickolay Mladenov
Reuters

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s Middle East envoy, on Wednesday condemned Israel over the impending demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, an illegal Bedouin encampment located east of Jerusalem.

“Israel should stop such actions and plans for relocating Bedouin communities in the occupied West Bank. Such actions are contrary to international law and undermine the two-state solution,” read a tweet from Mladenov.

His comments followed reports earlier on Wednesday that Israeli law enforcement officials and security personnel are preparing to demolish the Bedouin encampment, following years of delays and legal battles.

Khan al-Ahmar contains some 170-180 Palestinian Authority Bedouin and was established in the 1990s with no authorization or building permits. The outpost was built within the town limits of an existing Israeli community – Kfar Adumim – prompting Israeli law enforcement authorities to declare Khan al-Ahmar illegal, and call for its demolition.

After years of appeals to the Israeli judicial system, the Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions ruling that the outpost was indeed illegal and must be removed.

Earlier on Tuesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights demanded Israel legalize the town, claiming that Israel lacked authority to enforce construction laws in Judea and Samaria.

"We call on the Israeli authorities not to proceed with the demolition, to respect the rights of residents to remain on their land and have their status regularized," said UNHCHR spokeswoman Liz Throssell said.

The UNHCHR claimed that demolishing the illegal town would be in violation of international law.


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